About 20 members of parliament from nine Arab countries left Amman Sunday to travel by road to Baghdad for a solidarity visit lasting several days.
"The purpose of the visit is to show the solidarity of the Arab peoples with the Iraqi people in their struggle to get the unfair sanctions lifted that have been imposed on them," Arab Parliamentary Union secretary-general Nureddin Boshkuj told AFP.
"The delegation will have talks with Iraqi political leaders and will visit several sites, including hospitals, to find out for themselves about the impact of the sanctions imposed on Iraq" since 1990, he said.
Boshkuj stressed that the visit, the third since the 1991 Gulf War, was being made "at the initiative of the Arab MPs, and not as a result of an Iraqi proposal."
The MPs, from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and the Palestine National Council, had been attending the Inter-Parliamentary Union session held here last week.
During a meeting of Arab MPs held on the sidelines of the IPU gathering last Sunday, Kuwait opposed an Iraqi proposal to adopt a resolution inviting Arab MPs to go to Iraq.
Iraq wanted parliamentarians to have a close look at the effects of the embargo on its people.
Kuwaiti parliamentary speaker, Jassim al-Khorafi, said such a visit did not require an Arab resolution.
The Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) is an official organization seating Arab parliamentarians designated by their respective assemblies. Its creation in 1974, following the October War, marked the atmosphere of solidarity prevailing at the time in the Arab world. Its main objectives are to allow representatives of the different Arab parliaments which are members of the Union to meet, coordinate activities and promote democratic values in Arab countries - (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)